Trip Report: FKWW & AMC XC Ski to Haskell Hut

This past Saturday, our Executive Director, Andy, and I set out from the Matagamon Gate (at the north of the monument) for a weekend XC ski excursion with our partners at Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). AMC is training their members to lead trips into the monument, and they invited us along to recon the trail to our lodging at Haskell Hut, and to share about our ongoing work.

It was the final weekend of the Head North Ski Days, and so the trails near the gate were populated by some friendly folks, enjoying free rentals provided by Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters. For long stretches along the East Branch of the Penobscot, there wasn’t a soul in sight – save for some red squirrels scurrying between the trees. We thought we found some lynx tracks along the trail, but it turned out to be a big, friendly brown lab running alongside a couple from Fort Kent.

By mid-afternoon on Saturday, we arrived at the Haskell Hut as snow flurries started up. Haskell Hut is a cozy cabin sitting above the expansive Haskell Deadwaters. When we stepped in and dropped our packs and sleds, the cabin was still warm from the visitors there the night before. From there, we set out to Haskell Rock Pitch, where we built a snowman to keep watch over the rapids.

That night, we cooked up some hefty dinners and ate as the sun went down. Around our solar powered lamp, we talked at length with the AMC members about the history of the monument and how they could get involved with the monument planning process.

On Sunday, we rose early with the morning sun, made some coffee and ate some chocolate chip pancakes courtesy of Eliza from AMC. On our way back, we took a mile long detour to see Stair Falls. Along the trail, there were stunning views of Bald Mountain and Billfish Mountain, which sits at the Northwest corner of the monument.

At the Matagamon Gate, we were welcomed back by Mark and Susan Adams from EPI. They’ve devoted nine straight days to making sure Head North Ski Days was a success, and we’re grateful for their help in gearing us up for our excursion.  Thanks also to Kaitlyn and Kim from AMC for leading a safe and fun trip.

As we left, the roads were starting to mud up. Spring is making its way to the monument, but there’s still plenty of snow. If you have any questions about our trip, or are planning a trip of your own, reach out. We hope you’ll make a trip north while there’s skiing to be had.

We’ll see you out on the trails.

Sam Deeran
Operations and Special Projects Coordinator